Recent Coyote Sightings a Cause for Concern

While the thought of coyotes being spotted in the Hudson Valley is not out of the ordinary, coyotes being spotted in New Paltz during daylight is not a usual occurrence.

Reports of coyotes being spotted in New Paltz have recently emerged during the month of April, starting with New Paltz resident Jennifer Ippolito, who lives on Morning Star Drive. Ippolito wrote an email to the New Paltz Times describing how she witnessed her dog being carried out of her yard by a coyote.

“At approximately 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4, my daughter and I witnessed our 11-pound Maltese being carried out of our front yard by a large canine predator,” Ippolito said in an email to the New Paltz Times. “We chased it through our neighbors’ yards to Springtown Road, but couldn’t catch it…. My second Maltese was also missing from my yard.”

In response to this incident, Ippolito wrote on her Facebook page, expressing her concerns for the safety of her and other New Paltz residents, due to the coyotes killing her two maltese dogs. 

Town of New Paltz Councilman David Brownstein stated that the incident on Morning Star Drive raised awareness on the issue of coyotes being spotted.

“I heard of instances where coyotes were not running away from people,” Brownstein said. “Then I heard of how the two dogs on Morning Star Drive were killed. The town then contacted the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to receive a permit to harass the coyotes.”

The town board held a meeting on April 19 in which Town of New Paltz Supervisor Neil Bettez stated that the town received a permit to haze the coyotes from the DEC.

“We have received permission to haze the coyotes, but not kill it,” Bettez said at the town board meeting. “We are doing the coyotes a favor by making sure its not habituating with humans.”

On April 17, the director of Environmental Health and Safety at SUNY New Paltz Michael Malloy sent out an email to all students and faculty members at the college addressing coyotes being seen in New Paltz.

“While most coyotes avoid interacting with people, some coyotes in suburbia become emboldened and appear to have lost their fear of people. This can result in a dangerous situation,” Malloy said in the email. “A coyote that does not flee from people should be considered dangerous. Coyotes in residential areas can be attracted to garbage, pet food and other human-created sources of food. Some suburbia coyotes can associate people with these food attractants.”

While Malloy said that he personally has not seen coyotes in New Paltz, he has seen them in the Hudson Valley.

“This was reported to the UPD by an employee who then sent the email my way,” Malloy said. “But I live in Kingston and I see coyotes regularly here.”

The email sent by Malloy also included a link to the DEC website that had information on coyotes throughout New York. The website  states that the Eastern coyote is an integral part of the New York ecosystem as they are usually four to five feet tall and weigh in the range of 35-45 pounds. The DEC website says that people should not feed coyotes as unintentional food sources attract coyotes. 

To reduce these risks, the DEC recommends not to feed pets outside, make any garbage inaccessible to coyotes and eliminate availability of bird seed, as concentrations of birds and rodents that come to feeders can attract coyotes.

Despite the recent sightings of coyotes in New Paltz, Brownstein doesn’t think the sightings are a big concern. 

“This is more of an awareness issue to me as we live near open space and naturally, we are going to be in the same area as foxes, coyotes and other wildlife,” Brownstein said. “We need to be aware that these animals don’t understand property lines. We obviously don’t want these coyotes to be roaming in the street with us, but at the same, we have to be aware of what they’re doing and be able to coexist with them.”